Why ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Creator Shonda Rhimes Gets Offended When Motherhood is Called a ‘Job’

Producing powerhouse Shonda Rhimes recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix to develop a new plethora of shows. With her monumental success creating several prime time dramas including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, Rhimes is clearly in her wheelhouse when it comes to bringing in viewers and ratings.

As a mom of three, Rhimes has plenty to juggle. The Grey’s Anatomy creator openly admits that she can’t do it alone and counts on the help of others to balance home and career.

Producer Shonda Rhimes attends LA Promise Fund's Annual Summit
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ creator Shonda Rhimes | Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Shonda Rhimes doesn’t do it all

As a successful career woman and mother, Rhimes is often asked how she does it all. Her response may surprise some of her fans.

“The answer is this: I don’t,” she wrote in her 2015 memoir Year of Yes, according to the Washington Post. “Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.”

The Scandal producer accepts that she can’t be everything to everyone. “If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I’m probably missing bath and storytime at home,” Rhimes shared. “If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I am probably blowing off a script I was supposed to rewrite.”

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Crediting the help of her nanny, Rhimes noted that women in show business are often afraid to admit they have – and need – help on the homefront.

“Powerful famous women don’t say out loud that they have help at home, that they have nannies, housekeepers, chefs, assistants, stylists,” Rhimes stated. “Whatever it is they have to keep their worlds spinning because they are ashamed. Or maybe a more precise way to say it is that these women have been shamed.”

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ creator wants to set positive example

Though she’s used to dealing with network brass and sometimes egotistical actors, Rhimes knows she can count on her daughters to bring her some much needed joy each day.

“I am not a naturally optimistic person,” she admitted in her memoir. “I’m too in my own head to be a constant source of cheer. … So I can use some reminders of what is good and optimistic and glass-half-full about this world. And nothing does that for me like the faces and souls of my tiny humans.”

Hoping to show her daughters the value of working toward something and achieving goals, Rhimes takes pride in her success and expresses her fulfillment to her kids.

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“I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them,” the television producer shared. “I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. … In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it.”

Shonda Rhimes says it’s not ‘a job’

In Year of Yes, Rhimes explains why she bristles if someone refers to motherhood as some sort of ‘job.’

“Being a mother is not a job. I’m sorry but it is not,” she stated. “I find it offensive to motherhood to call being a mother a job. … It’s who someone is. It’s who I am. You can quit a job. I can’t quit being a mother. I’m a mother forever. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation.”

Rhimes goes on the describe the impact motherhood has had on her life, as well as the incredible responsibility it is to undertake.

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“Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys and rebuilds us. [It] brings us face-to-face with ourselves as children, with our mothers as human beings, with our darkest fears of who we really are,” she wrote. “Being a mother requires us to get it together or risk messing up another person forever. Being a mother yanks our hearts out of our bodies and attaches them to our tiny humans.”

The media mogul emphasizes that women need to find joy in their role as a a mom. “Part of what’s important about motherhood is that you be happy,” Rhimes said. “Your kids need to see a happy, fulfilled mother.”